Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce

steamed eggplant with miso-tomato sauce

I bought some adorable little asian eggplants, and there they lay, lingering in my fridge, waiting for me to make myself a dinner. I love asian varieties of eggplant, as they tend to be more tender, and less bitter than their larger, Italian cousins. With not much time or desire to put together a large meal for just myself, and even less desire to spend time over the stove on a sweltering 98 degree Philadelphia day, I pulled a recipe from Joe Yohan’s very fun cookbook, “Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.” All recipes in this cookbook are vegetable-based, and intended for solo meals.  Not too many ingredients, not to much time, but a whole lot of flavor.

I altered the recipe a bit to use what I had available – some homemade Coconut Vinegar that my friend Joel gave me (and warned me to open quickly, as the yeast was still alive!) and some roasted almonds instead of peanuts. I also used the same pan and boiling water which I used to steam the eggplant for boiling the udon noodles. Less time – less mess! Altogether, about 6 minutes of total hands-on cooking, and a great, quick dinner.

A brief recipe summary, with my alterations:

 

Steamed Eggplant with Miso-Tomato Sauce 

One small eggplant, or a few tiny asian eggplants. Slice into rounds, salt, and steam until soft (about 20 minutes)

A nice hunk of ginger, diced, and cooked in 2 teaspoons of sesame oil until soft

2 Tbs. of miso, whisked with 1 Tbs. of vinegar (I used homemade coconut vinegar). Add the miso sauce to the ginger, stir.

A big diced tomato, or 3/4 cup organic crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce. Added to the sauce.

1 serving of cooked udon noodles (or soba). Top the noodles with the eggplants and the sauce, and then garnish with chopped almonds (or peanuts, or roasted sesame seeds) and diced scallion.

NYC, LES: SobaKoh

Soba

What to do when you’ve made a trip to New York on a Sunday, only to find the restaurant you intended to visit is closed on Sundays (bad, Dirt Candy, bad)? Take a friends advice and go for soba. “It just seems healthy,” he said, and he is right. But really, more vegetables would up that help. A huge selection, though, and I had a lovely hot soba with fried tofu, shredded radish, and cilantro. SobaKoh makes all their own noodles, too, which is a treat. A quick belly-filler before it was time to hop back on the Bolt Bus!

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Dinner Party Club – Japanese April

Tofu Pocket-Sushi
Tofu Pocket-Sushi

Longing for Spring, and overjoyed by the produce at Iovine’s, and inspired by the recent cherry-blossom festivals on the East Coast, I decided to go Japanese-style with this month’s Dinner Party Club meal. I started the meal off with these cute little “pocket” sushi – tofu puffs soaked and split and filled with saki rice, carrots, and black sesame seeds.

Fruit Spring Rolls
Fruit Spring Rolls

The first spring rolls of the year always come out a little lumpy, and these were no exception. They were, however, tasty and non-traditionally filled with kiwi, mango, chopped cashews and chili and served with a honey-sweet-spicy sauce.

Shitake soba soup
Shitake soba soup

Second course was a shitake soba soup that works on the same premise is my classic shitake udon soup, but with bok choy and frozen-then-fried tofu which has a texture my friends really like, probably because it’s meatier. Personally, I prefer the classic pressed style.

Deconstructed sushi bowls
Deconstructed sushi bowls

I LOVED these deconstructed sushi bowls, based on a recipe from epicurious.com. Boston lettuce bowls filled with sushi rice, topped with steamed snap peas, and asparagus, fresh red pepper, broccoli sprouts, fried egg crepe, enoki mushrooms, black sesame seeds, and just a drizzle of a sauce made from chili sesame oil and soy sauce.

Panko-crusted asparagus, spicy glazed eggplant
Panko-crusted asparagus, spicy glazed eggplant

Not the best photo, I know, but these panko-crusted and baked asparagus were really yummy. I dredged them in the remaining chili-mayo I made the week before (thinned with rice wine vinegar) and served them with a sort of half-sweet chili oil sauce. And a side of soy-glazed japanese eggplant, which didn’t look as pretty, but weren’t that bad.

Dessert? I forgot to take photos. But a big plate of ripe blood oranges and pieces of spicy mango dark chocolate. DPC is the best.

Curried Soba Noodles with “Beef”

Curried Soba Noodles with "Beef"
This dinner was loosely based on the Curried Udon Noodle Stirfry from Veganomican, but with more ingredients that I like! I added some vegetarian “beef.” Usually I’m not such a fan of fake meat replacements, but I’ve been experimenting more with them as an alternative to my usual tofu or tempeh option. It was delicious!

Curried Soba Noodles with “Beef”
6 oz. soba noodles, cooked, rinsed, and sprinkled with a bit of oil
2 Tbs. peanut oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. diced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 bell peppers, one red, one green
2 Tbs. Thai chili sauce (to taste)
8 oz. pkg. vegetarian “beef”
1/2 lb. broccoli florets
1/2 c. vegetable broth
3 Tbs. soy sauce

Curry Roux:
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili pepper flakes
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 tsp. sugar

to prepare the curry roux:
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring in flour and continuing to stir until the flour browns. Stir in the spices and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Whisk the roux, pouring the vegetable broth in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the sugar and continue stirring until the roux thickens, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.

to prepare the stir-fry:
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large wok or very large skillet. Add the onion and ginger, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transluscent. Add the peppers, chili sauce, and vegetarian “beef” and stir fry until the pepper softens. Add the broccoli florets and stir fry just until the broccoli turns bright green. Toss the noodles into the wok, toss with the vegetables, and sprinkle with the soy sauce. Whisk 1/2 cup of vegetable broth into the cooled roux, then pour over the noodles. Stir, coating the noodles and vegetables, and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately, hot, with chopsticks.